This post is a prediction of how my city, Bengaluru will look in 2030. It is a contest entry for the Masdar 2015 engage blogging contest. Hope you enjoy! I would appreciate if you could post a review or rate the post on the contest page here.
Sun,January 27th ,2030
The batteries in my new Mahindra ElectrO had almost dried up after participating in yesterday’s Republic day rally which was organised by the Bengaluru Electric Cars club commemorating the 80th Indian Republic day. Waking up at 4 AM is a routine for me, but it was more important today considering that I had to charge my car batteries. I log on to the BESCOM (Bengaluru Electric Supply Company) app on my phone to check the electric grid status, the source of power and the tariff. The night grid during this time of the year is powered by wind and the tariffs are below the peak tariff rates (25% lower) and will remain so until 8 AM when the peak loads are expected to kick in. So I immediately plugged my car batteries to the charging port. It feels good to drive an electric car even better to know that the electricity in the batteries are predominantly from renewable energies.
As I was fixing my bicycle for the usual Sunday ride, I got an update from another utility company Bengaluru Water Supply which read “ The water supply to your locality will be cut off at 7 AM due to maintenance work in the supply line”. Such messages remind me of the first time the water board embraced technology in updating consumers the time of water supply to each locality around 2014. As I left home I picked up the garbage to be handed over at the Processing Unit in my apartment complex. Bengaluru Apartment complexes that have more than 100 residences are mandated to setup waste processing units within their complex and the same model is replicated by the local municipality in every ward. This is a huge success story considering 15 years ago the city was dealing with the ‘garbage menace’.
I got onto the street and couple of minutes into the ride I saw the public street lights going off, its 6 AM. Bengaluru back then was one of the first cities in India to switch to timer based lighting system in public places, the significance now is that all street lights in the city are powered by battery based solar systems. The technological capabilities of Bengaluru were evident when I saw the Water Board cordoning off a part of the road, to fix the leak in the water pipe even when there was no overflow of water on to the street from below. How do they do it? The water board has placed sensors along the water lines of Bengaluru to monitor water flow and communicate any variations. It’s an integral part of a ‘Smart City’.
I then passed the city railway station, 70% of Indian rail network today is electrified and 50% of the electricity is drawn from renewable energy. In the next junction I saw a line of buses moving from their depots, the Bengaluru city bus network now boasts of a 10000 buses out of which 50% run on electricity and the rest on bio fuel. It was only in 2014 an electric bus was on trial runs. Cubbon park has always been the best part of my ride, it has retained its greenery, It now boasts of 100 different gardens. The best space is the Wi-Fi zone where I get to meet fellow cyclists and other enthusiasts. I took a break here and happened to check the news. “India set to achieve its emission cut targets for 2030” says the Prime Minister. India had agreed to cut its emissions by 30% and have 30% of renewable energy in the mix by 2030 during the COP 21 negotiations in Paris 2015. Also in the news was a security breach caused by a delivery-drone during the Republic Day Parade.
I then continued my ride passing through the cricket stadium which was the first stadium in the country to use the roof space to install solar power. And then finally I move along the metro track on MG road which reminds me of 2011 when the metro first started its operations in the city. It now caters to 50% of the daily commuters in the city with great efficiency and what’s more, its powered by solar.
Its nostalgia as I ride on the final stretch before I turn back and head home; Bengaluru was once a garden city, but around 2000s saw rapid development and associated civic issues. But post 2015, it has seen a resilient development like no other city. The public transport systems have become efficient, private vehicle use have dropped and that has reduced the stress on environment. Piped water supply have become efficient and the ground water aquifers have recharged through massive rain water harvesting systems. The most significant development has been the adoption of renewable energy in the mix. Solar rooftops have a penetration of over 50% and the large scale renewable power projects have contributed to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The development in the last two decades have been phenomenal yet sustainable and that makes me feel proud. It is in the feeling, I have unknowingly drifted away from the cycling lane and I’m greeted by a series of honks from a rear vehicle which drives me crazy. I stop at the junction and turn back to check on the car driver and find the front seats empty! It is a driver-less car!
References from 2014 that indicate Bengaluru in 2030 might be a reality
 Next drop water.
 IBM smarter planet ideas for Bangalore water board. Updates here.
 Solar power for Indian Railways. Read more here.
 Bangalore stadium to go solar
 Bangalore metro train goes solar